AeroVironment’s Raven Achieves Production, Operational Milestones
AeroVironment, Inc. (AV) achieved a significant milestone recently in its production of Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (SUAV) systems. The rechargeable-battery-powered Raven (RQ-11A), a manpackable SUAV used by the U.S. Army and Special Forces in the Global War on Terrorism since 2002, surpassed the 3,000th air vehicle mark for production.
The Raven is a 4.2 pound, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, near-real-time video imagery for "over the hill" intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of a ground commander. To date, U.S. Army combat deployment of Raven includes 18,673 flight hours in 15,314 sorties in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Building on the success of the RQ-11A, AV was awarded the U.S. Army's SUAV low-rate initial production contract (LRIP) in October 2005 for its "Raven B," which offers significant product enhancements compared to the current Raven A.
The LRIP award is the first step in an expected multi-year, full-rate production program of a significant number of Raven systems over the five year POM cycle for warfighters of the U.S. Army and U.S. Special Operations Command. AV delivered all LRIP hardware in early November and completed development testing for an initial operational test and evaluation scheduled in early 2006.
"This SUAV LRIP award is a significant milestone in our 20-year partnership with the U.S. Armed Forces to develop this class of unmanned aerial vehicle," said Tim Conver, AV's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We reiterate our commitment to on-time deliveries of the highest quality products to meet the needs of our nation's warfighters."